Check-in can be a confusing process for guests, and if things don’t go smoothly, it can cause extra work and worry for hosts, too. There’s a tool on the Airbnb mobile app that can help: check-in guide.
“I use [the check-in guide] to put all my check-in information within the premade fields. It saves me time and allows users to find things quickly,” said Superhosts John and Mary Ann, of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The check-in guide tool allows you to write step-by-step instructions once, within the Airbnb app, so you won’t need to rewrite or copy and paste instructions from another email when you message future guests. You can even add photos to show landmarks or hard-to-find lockboxes, and to help guide guests who speak other languages. Creating this guide once helps you save time, of course, and also helps prevent miscommunication; you won’t run the risk of accidentally leaving out an important step, as you might in a one-off email to guests.
The tool also handles communication follow up for you: Three days before confirmed guests arrive, we’ll automatically send your check-in guide to their smartphones so that they can pull up the information easily via the app and throughout their trip, even without a local data plan. If guests don’t have the Airbnb app, you can still share your guide: Simply go to “messages,” press the “key” icon, and encourage your guests to save the link. Guests will be able to access your guide three days before they arrive.
Here’s how to make the most of the check-in guide feature and set the stage for a smooth arrival.
5 simple steps to publish a check-in guide:
Grab your smartphone, open the Airbnb app, and go to your listing. Under “Guest resources,” click “Check-in instructions.” Whether you greet your guests in person or choose self check-in, you can still create a check-in guide. The first screen will prompt you to select your entry method: smart lock, keypad code*, lockbox, or doorman.
Some hosts have guests check-in on their own and settle in before greeting them in person. “Nowadays we let the guests do self check-in, which makes them feel more at home,” say hosts Siyana and Khalam, of Imbituba, Brazil. “Then I write or make myself available to better explain the house, appliances, gas, and whatever else is needed.”
*For extra security and peace of mind, remember to change door or lockbox passcodes between guests.
Next, you’ll be asked to edit check-in instructions and write detailed steps to help guests locate and get inside your home.
Here are some step-by-step instructions** from hosts:
—Rubén and Dorothy, Vermont, United States
—Ben and Angel, Wellington, New Zealand
**Instructions have been edited and adapted for length and clarity.
These hosts also include street information and links to maps:
I include a photo of the front of the house, and if they are bringing a car I indicate which of the garages they can use. I also let them know that my street has two very specific times for vehicles.—Jessi, Mexico
I [include] a detailed explanation on how to find the [house]boat with a map and photos of the area.—Maeva, Msida, Malta
***Some hosts have told us they feel uncomfortable showing photos of the front of their homes. If you feel the same way, try photographing items close-up. Also, keep in mind that check-in guide photos will not be published to your listing. They will only be shared with confirmed guests three days before they arrive and during their stay.
Some hosts recommend adding a little humor to get guests’ attention:
“Hi, we are looking forward to having you here in our part of the world. Could you please SMS me your expected arrival time on [phone number] so I can make sure I am not feeding the crocodiles in the lake?” Yes of course it’s outrageous, but it always gets an immediate response. We all have a laugh. I know when they will arrive, and the check-in happens on time and without hassle—or crocodiles!”—Robin, Mount Barker, Australia
Once you’ve published your instructions, we’ll automatically share your check-in guide with confirmed guests three days before they arrive. Easy check-ins mean you’ll save time and set the stage for a five-star review.
Just take it from hosts like Stefan, of Wiesendangen, Switzerland: “Our efforts are limited to the absolute necessary. There is no idling or reworking. Nothing is forgotten, and there isn’t the stress of ‘Did I already….? Do you have….?’ Thanks to the [check-in guide], our standard is always the same without any additional effort.”
I do exactly the same via my smartphone and all guests are loving it! Definitely helps me a lot !
Frances, I do this as well and it makes life soooo much easier. I even put check out info in there as well. I answer far fewer questions this way, and it reduces the stress of the guest since they not only know how to get in, but also sets expectations up front. I include the link to the check in guide at that time, but I'm glad to know it is sent automatically 3 days before as well for quick reference.
For people without smartphones, borrow someone elses (or an iPad) and create your guide & send yourself the link. Then you can include it in your emails, or however you send your chosen method of communication is.
I also just attach photos from Google Drive whilst messaging them - it’s easy and never any issues .
Love your idea! I will do this too. I currently send via email in a pdf but was looking for ideas to streamline. Thx for sharing!
Thats a great idea Regina. Thanks for the tip. It seems everytime i try to give my guests a link of any kind it is blocked from the message. How are you getting around this
Actually Steven, this information is available to people that do not use the app. You can copy and paste the link and send it to them. They can access it on their home computer and print out the information. A few of my guests (older folks) have done this.
I think guests can access the guide from any browser. The URL is in the following name format. Just change the number to your property ID which you can find in the URL when editing the listing. Guests and hoss have to be logged in to see it. https://www.airbnb.com/reservation/check-in-guide/12345678
We have a saved message template that includes the link to our check-in instructions and we try to send it out 24 hours prior to check in. It just seems easier for the guest.
Hi Steven - know what you mean; but as part of my standard 'welcome / thanks for booking' message I diplomatically encourage people to use the airbnb app before they travel. Explaining it allows GPS and offline access to my checkin intructions/pictures. I find just this small encourgement reduces the amount of people who dont follow the intructions and or panic on arrival! Accessing the app offline is a great feature for those travelling with foreign phones that havent connected to or paid for a roaming signal.
Of course there will be those who would rather print of loads of paper before travelling as smart phones / apps are the work of the devil.....
I set up my Airbnb listing on my laptop, so I work it from there. I can access it on my smartphone as well, but through my gmail account. I have never been able to set up the Airbnb APP, as, when I try this, it looks like I'm making a new listing altogether, then I just get too scared to complete the process.
I do exactly these things and generally again the arrival day prior to checkin time. The 1st I send out cites it is verbatim from the web page and can be reviewed any time. Then again I send it verbatim from the web page. 35 percent easily will ring your door bell and if you are already sleeping telephone call uou yo say they are outside. How do the access? That is their question.
Parking description with photo also goes out in the same manner and is also on the website. Ring the door bell and it telephone uou yo ask where do they park? It also specifically says Please do not park in the neighbors ! That exactly where these same guests park. My neighbor and I got along well until the past e yeard. I totally understand his position. Oh by the way...a good portion also try to enter his front door , he makes double sure now he licks it. Had to many surprises. I advise guest abd they have 3 opportunities (about 15 percent) do this. House number is wrong, my picture of the the house and house number clearly which I send out and is on the web. I dare not be out , must be at home watching out the window nervously. I work around the best I can for arriving guests . I have a self enter system so I need not to see them personally. How do we et a guest to please read the instruction fo hsve s perfect access and nit wrute in a review giving only 3 *** on access?? There are more of you out there any third,??